Peanut Bird Feeders that Rock


November 4, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 3:52 am

Give birds peanuts… because variety is the spice of life!

whole peanut bird feeder for year-round useBe it shelled or whole peanuts, birds love them and for good reason. They pack a real punch for nutrition and likely for taste, but you’d have to ask a bird on that one.

Simply put, Calories = Energy, so especially for cold weather feeding, peanut bird feeders are always a good bet. That energy is what keeps birds warm overnight. Ever wonder why many resident birds feed from dawn till dusk? The goal is to store enough energy to make it through a frigid night.

The Wreath Peanut Feeder above is meant for whole peanuts, but it’s easy to pop a suet ball or two inside for more variety. The design is very bird-friendly and even lends itself for other options.

In early spring, it’s ideal for nesting materials. Start saving your pet’s hair from their brush now. Decorative mosses and feathers are also prime materials for nest construction by most of the usual suspects. Steer clear of dryer lint- though it may seem soft & fluffy, it contains synthetic material that’s just not found in a birds’ world.Peant Bird Feeder for Shelled Peanuts

Say you could do without the mess of peanuts in the shell? Opt for a feeder that’s made for shelled peanuts. Most of these will accommodate black oil sunflower seed so you can still change it up, enticing more birds to your place.

The large capacity mesh design offers lots of all-over feeding space. Most styles also lend themselves to doing the nest materials in spring. Adding suet may not work as well in shelled peanut bird feeders as there’s nothing to hold it at the outer wall for easy access – though you’ll likely be able to do black oil sunflower for variety.

Regardless if shelled, or peanuts in the shell, birds will flock for this tasty treat year-round. Expect woodpeckers, jays, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, bluebirds and others at shelled peanuts. Expect squirrels at all peanut feeders… in which case a baffle is highly recommended ๐Ÿ™‚

National Cat Appreciation Day? Cat Birdhouses of Course!


October 29, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 1:46 pm

Fat Cat Birdhouse

They say it’s National Cat Appreciation Day… so here’s a favorite cat birdhouse! Partial to tuxedos, he’s the most expressive and birds find him a cozy roost during the off-season. There’s tabbies in orange or grey, and a Siamese or two, plus some killer ceramic cat birdhouses which can be fashioned after your own furry friend.ceramic-cat-birdhousee

There’s a lot of bird fanatics out there who’d rather NOT see a day dedicated to felines as the only cat they may find attractive is a dead one ๐Ÿ™

Yes, it’s one of the oldest arguments out there – but so easy to see both sides of the controversy if you love cats and happen to feed birds… keep your cat inside!

The problem with feral populations is breeding, yet so many (bird fanatics) are opposed to the famous TNR (trap-neuter-return) strategy. They insist it doesn’t work, and the only means viable is removal (even going to extremes such as poisoning). But they’re sadly misinformed! Because simply removing cats from a feral colony creates a vacuum where more magically appear to take their place.

Managed colonies prevent breeding, and cats are for the most part well-kept, with provisions of food and shelter. After all and as always, humans are undoubtedly responsible for the messy situation to begin with. That’s all we’ll say here, and thankfully comments are closed because the heated debate will linger forever with some very nasty remarks from both sides… seen it before!

As for our own guys: Shmitty is 20+ years old and mostly due to being an indoor cat, the girls are 16+, and Fatty, the ex-feral has got be at least 14 years old. They’re basically content (and safe) seeing the great outdoors and especially bird watching via screened porch. Unfortunately the neighbor’s 3 are constantly in our yard ๐Ÿ™

Oh yeah… those cat birdhouses; what better gift for the crazy cat lady in all of us?

Siamese Cat Birdhouse

Grey Tabby Birdhouse

COrange Tabby Birdhouse

Handle the Crowds with Innovative Finch Feeders


October 22, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 6:13 pm

copper spiral finch feederSo many birds yet so few perches… it’s standing room only with no room at the bird feeder! Depending on the season, this happens often, especially with goldfinches in early fall.

What do ya do when you can’t accommodate all your yellow feathered friends? Several options to feed lots of goldfinches at once might include adding a new finch feeder and/or hanging a few inexpensive thistle socks.

Standard perches aren’t the only way birds get seed at feeders; fun spirals like the one at left and “all-over” screen feeders shown below actually offer birds more space at the dinner table!Finch Feeder with all-over screen

Because of their late nesting season, goldfinches abound in late summer/early fall, but they’re molting process begins with dull, olive-drab winter feathers appearing. Should other finches who enjoy thistle (or nyjer) seed be hogging feeders, there’s a cool upside-down model designed just for the goldfinch. upside down finch feeder

Some of these other birds at finch feeders might include redpolls, pine siskins, house finches and more, so competition can get thick, and the sweet yellow ones really don’t compete much at feeders.

An economical way to give everyone a fair share is with thistle socks. The hanging mesh thistle feeders typically come in white, yellow or black , with some red ones fancied up for holiday. So popular nowadays, you may even see them in your grocery store’s bird section! Black Thistle Sock for Finches

Two other great things about feeding finches thistle seed is that it won’t germinate to cause weeds, and squirrels usually leave these feeders in peace!

 

Say What? This Tube Feeder is Bear Proof?


October 15, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 1:33 pm

Bear-Proof Steel Tube Bird FeederCould it actually be… a bear-proof bird feeder?

It’s not here yet, but due in December is a steel tube bird feeder by Birds Choice with claims to be bear resistant.

Although we’ve not seen them in our own GA backyard, many folks (both on the outskirts and in residential neighborhoods) have posted videos and pics of bears destroying their bird feeders… big time too! Whole feeding stations are decimated, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll command said bear to cease and desist either. Worse part is that it becomes habitual for them.

They’re extremely smart and considered problem solvers. Once a food source is discovered, you can bet they’ll return. They like the same foods as birds; seed mixes with black oil sunflower, peanuts, suet and sweet nectar too. That’s why Yogi and Boo-boo hung out at the park… for pic-i-nic baskets ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ve seen large raccoons grabbing hold of hummingbird feeders with both hands and guzzle like it was beer, but it doesn’t really compare to a bear in your yard.

Wait… quite possibly we’re in their yards, thus the troubling and increasing episodes with the new urban bear and human contact. Through no fault of its own the bear usually loses, and we hear it on the news all too frequently ๐Ÿ™

While this video is pretty fascinating to watch… it’s just not a good scenario in the bigger picture.

So back to the steel tube feeder: It features 5 small windows on each side to monitor seed levels and 6 perches that look large enough for cardinals’ comfort. Powder-coated steel tube holds 3.5 quarts, top removes for filling with removable bottom for clean-out. Overall measurements are 25.5″ tall x 8″ diameter, with a hefty weight of 9 lbs.

After viewing some of these bear vs. bird feeder videos, you might need to hang this one high, or secure it (really well) to something so the bear doesn’t walk off with it!

Grandpa’s Pet Bat Didn’t use a Bat House


October 2, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:49 am

flying batThey’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky… remember the theme song? Maybe old enough like us to mix them up with the family residing at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.

It was Grandpa from the Munster’s who had the pet bat! Only showing him in flight, I don’t recall ever seeing his bat house, can you remember his name? Regardless, both of those theme songs keep replaying in the brain.

On a more serious note, it’s believed that about 44% of bees have perished this year from pesticide poisoning, which is really scary! Like the birds & bees, bats are also major pollinators of tropical plants and fruit, they’re considered the night shift pollinators.

Thankfully, more folks are tuning into the needs of these friendly flying mammals with fur. Offering bat houses for roosting actually helps promote pollination. Aside from the thousand of insects consumed nightly, pollination is a huge draw. Especially for the agave plant, because without it- there would be no tequila!

Cedar Bat HouseFrom bat house kits and large capacity bat houses to artisan crafted bat shelters, there’s now a great variety of ways to offer proper roosting spots.

Materials vary from recycled plastic and cedar to aged barn wood for a more rustic appeal. There’s even several plans available online to build your own.

It may prove difficult at first to attract them, residing near a pond or lake greatly increase chances of occupancy. Recommended height is 12 to 15 feet, with a clear pathway to entry.

Facing SE or SW allows the bat house to receive maximum sun exposure for retained heat. Structures of brick, stone or wood are ideal mounting surfaces as they also retain heat. Metal- not so much. A pole may be easiest as the shelter can be attached while still on the ground, and then erected with bat house already secured.

Either way, bat houses are definitely something worth looking into. With holiday approaching they’d make an excellent gift for the nature-lover on your list.

And Grandpa’s bat… Igor, of course!cathedral bat house

 

 

Got the Crazies Around Your Hummingbird Feeders?


September 25, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 3:42 pm

The frenzy around our hummingbird feeders is later than usual this year! Folks to the north are still reporting brisk activity this last week of September. Possibly due the hottest August on record (though they say that every year) this month has been fairly steamy as well.

So at this rate, in just a few short years, the East Coast should be seeing hummingbirds close to 9 months out of the year… right? Lucky are those who see the sprites year-round, we’re envious. The end of August used to see peak migration “crazies” at feeders. Birds are fiercer than ever, with juveniles now contending for nectar as well.

Do the birds a favor and hang an extra feeder, even a cheap plastic one serves them well during migration. Nectar can be mixed a little stronger too. Pure can sugar (nothing else-no substitutes please) at a ratio of 1:4, may be kicked up a notch at 1:3. That’s one cup of sugar to 3 cups of water… and only at migration since birds are seeking to fatten up. The extra calories add fuel for their long journey to Central and South America.

Keep the nectar really fresh! During sweltering heat in the mid-90’s, it really should be changed about every other day. Our 7 hummingbird feeders keep us busy… but their delight is so worth the work! Note the pink mandevilla vine, hibiscus and penta as they also provide nectar for the sprites.

If you’ve ever placed a sprinkler out to water grass or flowers… please consider running it for the birds sometimes. Moving water, especially fresh, cool water is an absolute oasis for all songbirds. We can’t even say enough about leaf misters for feathered friends!

If you’re sad because hummingbird season is drawing to a close for your locale… don’t fret. Like Arnold, they’ll be back! It’s called site fidelity, and if hummingbirds were happy at your place this year, they do remember and return next year. It’s actually a pretty amazing cycle for such a tiny yet special little bird.

Safe travels little ones… we’ll catch ya on the flip-side!

Fancy Butterfly Feeders not Required


September 9, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:49 pm

Discarded fruit makes awesome butterfly feeders

Migratory winged ones are on the move!

It’s an awesome time of year to catch the action not only of feathered friends- but butterflies too!

Although we’ve nary seen a monarch this year (so very sad) a few other butterfly species have been prevalent. Several Swallowtails, Sulphurs and Viceroys to name a few. And even though we have a great selection on our website… they’re not coming to any fancy butterfly feeders.

A few alternative options to actual butterfly feeders:
โ€ขDiscarded fruit- provided it’s not too far gone
โ€ขNectar producing flowers- preferably native
โ€ขLeaf misters

These things absolutely work to entice the flying jewels! Leaf misters offer a gentle spray which butterflies adore, you can see them dance and flit through the fine mist. In fact, it’s almost mesmerizing! Their own personal spa, leaf misters also have gardens growing lush. Use these year after year, ours are going on their 10th season!

Discarded fruit is a no-brainer; from oranges, to melons, pears, apples and bananas, place fruit on a deck rail, plate, or anywhere near flowers where you’ve seen the least bit of butterfly activity.

And the flowers? We prefer native perennials. Again, you’ll get year after year of blooms and activity. Lantana is is one of the more common plants in the southeast, in fact it’s almost invasive! Butterfly or milk weed is also a popular host plant. Pollination Trifecta in this video with hummingbird, bees and butterflies on one plant!

Plan next spring with a few vegetables specifically for butterfly host plants; dill, fennel and parsley are ideal plants to host black swallowtails, and milkweed is a must for monarch caterpillars!

Another easy DIY is creating a waterless pond for butterflies to warm in the sun. Simply place heat-aborbing rocks (so they’re flat) in a sunny spot, add sand and salt and keep moist. You may wish to line the area first with plastic to keep salt out of soil. Sort of a crude version of the popular butterfly puddlers.butterfly puddler

And one last tip on feeding butterflies: They do not drink from an open water source. When using butterfly feeders like this staked one below, place a sponge in the center to soak up nectar. This acts as a wick where butterflies draw nectar like they do in nature from flowers.

Staked Butterfly Feeder

 

 

Ok, maybe we’re wrong, the really really last tip: Stop using chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides. Natural is the new landscape, manicured, pristine lawns and gardens are a thing of the past. Do it for butterflies, do it for all pollinators, most of all… do it for the human race!

We’ve Gone to Pot in the Garden!


September 4, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:27 pm

Large broken pot planterNo, we’re not really partying for Labor Day Weekend, just revamping the garden pots & planters section. We’ve curated a a couple of new pots likely worthy of a look!

The Large broken Pot Planter is versatile for year-round use indoors or out, lightweight and fun to use. For succulents and miniature plants in magic fairy garden, to herbs and air plants, change this one up for festive holiday decor.Broken Pot Planter

Theme it for fall, for your fairies, Christmas, Easter, spring or beach…the sky’s the limit! With double wall construction and ample drainage, plants will grow healthy & strong, it’s USA made and made to last.

Wall Pocket Planters have long been popular, especially for small spaces. In oodles of styles from rustic to modern, we’ve located a handmade pottery version with character to make any boring wall pop with personality!

With the wild popularity of succulents lately, the Troll Wall Pocket Planter promises to make a plain space fun!Troll Wall Pocket Planter

One last planter, also handmade pottery is the Living Wreath Planter. Another popular style, most are wire frame requiring moss or some form of liner, others are done in wood, and some in metal. Forget the mess and go with a sturdy, self-hanging terra-cotta model.

This one works for a table display as well. When used flat, try a candle or two and some fresh flower stems to create your own masterpiece. Dress the Living Wreath for any holiday or event, easy hanging chain lets you bring to the sink for occasional watering.

Living wreath planter

And somebody please tell this robin how silly she looks on this Troll Planter! Then again… it looks like a pretty successful brood. No guarantees for nesting though ๐Ÿ™‚

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Troll Planter with Robin's Nest

Happy Robin babies in the Wall Pocket Planter

 

 

 

Hacks for a Bird Feeder Bracket


August 18, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 4:11 pm

bird-feeder-bracket-with misterVersatility is really the name of the game when it comes to wild bird feeding accessories. For any investment, you want it to last and you want it for year-round use (should resident birds stick around your locale).

Well, these bird feeder brackets aren’t just for feeders! Several types of quality hardware brackets offer options to entice birds year round; with food in winter or fresh water in sweltering heat.

This long-reach deck-mounted bracket holds a mister out over the front porch in summer. The arm swivels making it simple to redirect the water every few days. The garden below has grown amazingly lush, and birds & butterflies both adore the mister’s gentle spray. Adult birds will fly through soaking up water in their wings and return to the nest cooling off babies. Pretty cool really… both literally and figuratively!

Round Bird Feeder Brackets like these also attach to a deck or porch rail. If the kitchen sink happens to be at a window overlooking the deck- then bam… you’ve got the ultimate window feeder too! The bracket’s perfect for a birdbath as well. No that’s not a potato, it’s a large rock used to weight down the copper bowl. Any idea how many people ask if that’s a potato?

Bird Feeder Bracket for Deck Rail

There are also brackets you can easily attach to an existing pole system. The extra arm allows for hanging 2 or 3 more feeders (or a bird bath).

Just because something is packaged/labeled a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t use it for something else. Wild bird feeding can include trial & error whether you’re just starting out or have been at it for years. Squirrels raiding the feeder? Move it and learn about baffles. No takers in your birdbath? Change the water more often and add some rocks for easy footing. Finches not eating thistle seed? Change it… it’s likely old & stale or worse, moldy. Stuff like this makes a world of difference to birds and your bird-watching enjoyment!

Experimenting and being innovative is part of the fun… because when you’re successful, the rewards are so worth the time & effort! Just feed the birds for some additional happiness in your world. See below (from the Auk-ward) birds-bring-happiness cartoon from Auk-Wardfor solid proof ๐Ÿ™‚

Grab an Ant Moat to Help Keep Nectar Fresh


August 7, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:20 am

ant moat in use with hummingbird feeder

You may have noticed increased activity at your hummingbird feeders because the “crazies” are upon us! The downward stretch to summer’s end, when the tiny sprites are gearing up for Southern migration. As the slower traffic at feeders and nesting come to an end, hummingbirds are busy getting as fat as they can for the long journey home.

Ant moats may or may not be critical to your hummingbird feeder’s popularity. Simply put, it takes just one ant in nectar to ruin the party! The good-for-nothing pests must emit something extremely nasty for hummers to ignore sweet nectar… especially when you’ve just changed it and hung a sparkly clean feeder. It’s so annoying!

Avoid the headache and try an ant moat if you don’t use them yet. This minimal investment will yield big results, but you mustn’t let water evaporate for moats to function properly. One hack is to add a drop of salad oil to the water because it slows evaporation in extreme heat.

But other songbirds (for some strange reason) enjoy drinking from the moats! It’s rather strange when six birdbaths, two misters and a bubbler fountain are part of the garden habitat… we know this first-hand! Here’s a clever ant moat that works in a completely different fashion- by eliminating the evaporation process. you fill it just once or twice per month! It’s called the Detourant and looks like this:Clever Ant Moatfor hummingbird feeders

Although other songbirds won’t be able to sip from it, this ant moat just about guarantees pest-free nectar for your hummingbirds… year after year and for many seasons to come! And if hummingbirds are still passing by your feeder without partaking – for pete’s sake… please change the nectar ๐Ÿ™‚